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Tom Leatherwood
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Sara Roberta Church 1914-1915

In 1952, Roberta Church became the first black woman in Memphis to be elected to public office and to the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee. She served as an official in the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon. In 1987, Church was the first woman and the first Black named Senior Citizen of the Year by the Kiwanis Club of Memphis. The daughter of Republican leader Robert R. Church, Jr., and the granddaughter of Robert R. Church, Sr., her death ended three generations of Churches who were economically, politically, and socially active in Memphis.